Male - 30 Years Old
Breaking out of Democrats: Organizing for a revolutionary reallignment
|My view is this: Sooner or later, revolutionaries must intervene in the electoral process in ways that actually have a prospect for breaking significant fractions of the Democratic Party away from its imperialist leadership and that this will necessarily involve some sort of work “within” the Democratic Party.|
I have argued elsewhere for the need to eventually build an explicitly revolutionary anti-capitalist “party within the party” to this end. The question as I see it is not whether or not it is permissible to undertake such work, but rather what the necessary conditions are for it to be successful, in particular in terms of the prior development of explicitly revolutionary organization.
Mike is correct in noting that the record to date of left participation in the Democratic Party has produced rather dismal results.
I would argue, however, that for the most part this work has not really ever been undertaken in a revolutionary manner. That rather the decision to do work in the Democratic Party has almost always been part of a larger retreat from explicitly revolutionary politics.
In some cases some folks have, for undoubtedly complex reasons, tried to maintain a verbal commitment to revolutionary politics in private or in certain circles while in public practice upholding an approach that was indistinguishable from left social democracy. It is important to be clear about the non-revolutionary character of this approach, not only or even mainly for the purpose of “exposing” its practitioners, but because it sabotages the necessary development of an actually revolutionary approach to elections.
It will be argued, of course, that this correlation is hardly accidental, that the decision to do work inside the Democratic Party and the abandonment of a commitment to revolutionary politics are inherently of a piece. But I don’t think this is necessarily true.
I don’t think a real attempt to go into the Democratic Party on a revolutionary basis with the intention of breaking the progressive base away from the imperialist leadership has been undertaken. It has rather always been on the basis of the necessity of blocking with this or that wing of the ruling class. The devil, of course, is in the details and I am not so naive as to think such an undertaking would not confront many of the same dangers or might not simply be crushed as quickly as it could start. What I do know is that the presently available options are not acceptable.
And on the other side:
|This is what perpetual electoral lesser-evilism amounts to in practice: a denial of the working class’ historical mission and a tailing of bourgeois consciousness. Instead of organizing for the conquest of hegemony through the development of working class consciousness, which in its historically clarified form is critical and revolutionary (and thus necessarily independent), what takes place instead is an impotent mirroring of bourgeois consciousness and its reified institutions, in which the basic parameters of the bourgeois setup are reaffirmed over and over, but with a “clean” conscience. Reality transforms into its opposite: the perpetual re-creation of an unreal politics, a fake politics, a “politics” which can only ever confirm the non-presence of real politics. This substitute for politics — an imposter posing as politics — assures confinement in the prison house of bourgeois consciousness because it is itself the direct reflection of the falsity, the essential nullity, at the heart of its mystified vision of reality, which is not a reality of politics at all, but of narrow and naked self-interest.|
At the heart of all real politics is the struggle for truth defined as the consciousness of the totality of social relations and institutional reflections these give rise to. But bourgeois politics is a consumer spectacle in which truth is unlocatable–not actively denied but simply without dimension. There is only ever “the middle class,” which is just another way of saying there is no class. There is only ever “our national interests,” which is just another way of saying there are no antagonistic interests, between nations in the “Homeland,” or anywhere else, since in the self-conception of the “Homeland” there are no other nations at all, merely a big backyard dotted with innumerable imperial clubhouses/military bases, cruise missile fuckhouses for Team America’s imperial pleasure. There is only ever “American freedom,” which is just another way of saying there is no debate about the meaning of this concept, no attention given to the profound unfreedom of billions that is the condition of its possibility for a relative few. There is only ever “American values,” which is just another way of saying their are only the values of the bourgeois camarilla and its factions.
A fight for another kind of system? No. Voting for Democrats is a fight to avoid a fight for another kind of system.......... From this strategic perspective, nestled deep within the enemy’s reified institutional camp, I think it’s impossible for the proletariat to ever recognize the totality of this system. Social relations will remain reified through a constant renewal and legitimation of bourgeois power.
Another, I think much more promising, vision is based on removing obstacles to the proletariat’s self-understanding through forging an independent path at distance from the ruling class and its institutions, by helping the proletariat not to recognize its self in the alien power of bourgeois institutions, but in the power of its role in the process of production.